Alyssa Ravasio

PHOTOS: Molly DeCoudreaux, David Wajsfelner

LOCATION: Northern California

It’s easy to see how Alyssa Ravasio, founder of Hipcamp, is a conventional success and just leave it at that. Strong academic record – check. Up and coming startup- check. Skills and charisma – check.

But what intrigues us is the philosophy of the girl who loves playing in the sea. When we interviewed her, what struck us most was Alyssa’s consistency in her work and her values, whether it be wanting others to engage in policy (because yes, it’s relevant to the outdoors world), spreading an appreciation for the sea and mountains which she grew up in. Though many of us have to make small compromises to our values every day, Alyssa shows us what it means to be conscious of the big picture.

How are you drawn to the sensation of waves?

I’ve always loved playing with waves. I think Laird Hamilton said it best, waves are nature on a human scale. So many other forces of nature—hurricanes, avalanches, landslides, earthquakes, tsunamis—are way too big to for us to safely interact with. But waves are our size; they’re perfect to play with.

I used to spend hours at Stinson Beach, jumping in the waves, intentionally getting caught in the washing-machine, enjoying the loss of control, the feeling of flow, the connection with this greater force that encompasses our entire planet and brings life to us all.

I love that the waves always keep coming, like the heartbeat of the planet.

How are your childhood experiences by the sea manifested today?

My love of the waves eventually led me to surfing. I love surfing because for me, it is a practice, much like yoga. In so many other areas of life I am extremely goal oriented, but surfing is a skill I can eternally improve, an art form so infinitely complex that it cannot be mastered. I find deep peace in these practices because there is no pressure of an endpoint—the path is the goal.

Surfing is a wonderful teacher for me; it always brings me the right lesson at the right moment. Sometimes it’s simple—a deep gratitude for the beauty of our planet. Other times it’s intricate—realizing the most dangerous decision you can make is to hesitate.

Hipcamp Campout Vol. 1

Eric Bach, Co-founder

Alyssa Ravasio

What do you wish others cared more about?

I’m concerned about the ocean, since we are currently destroying this ecosystem. There are 7 billion of us—we can’t all eat Tuna Nigiri every week and expect to have a healthy ocean in 2100. We’ve already wiped out 90% of the ocean’s predators (sharks, tuna, swordfish)*—how much farther do we need to take this?

Farmed fish may not be sexy but it is absolutely necessary if we want to keep sealife in our diets. If I was a venture capitalist, I would put big money behind the brands that are doing aquaculture well (see Veta la Palma) and the research coming out of UC Davis.

I also wish people cared more about their responsibility as a voting member of our democracy. More people need to get engaged on the issues they care about, and not just on election day. We can make a difference, and it’s important that we try—otherwise we’re just letting the big corporations and government figure everything out for us.

For example, the government released a draft contract for camping reservations in all federal lands in October 2014. This draft proposed maintaining the status quo of the current system, where a single private company wins a monopoly on the data and revenue around our nation’s camping reservations for the next decade.

We believe opening up access to camping reservations through open data will create a better experience for the public and more revenue for the parks, so we created a coalition called Access Land alongside incredible institutions like the Sierra Club, REI, and Code for America. We helped educate some members of Congress, got a few articles in the press, and you know what? The government listened! The new draft released in February of 2015 includes a requirement for open data so that many companies will be able to help people connect with their parks and get outside.

How do you like your salad?

Fresh and local! Kale with seasonal ingredients, maybe avocado, garbanzo beans, bell pepper, feta, tomatoes.

Go book your next adventure with Hipcamp